Electron Donors

The compound that donates electrons (and therefore is oxidized). In bioremediation, the organic contaminant often serves as an electron donor.

Usage Estimation
Application Corner

Our approach to substrate dosing is based on site conditions. JRW Bioremediation L.L.C. provides substrates and nutrients for anaerobic bioremediation. The substrates provided include highly soluble materials such as WILCLEAR® sodium and potassium lactate, SoluLac® ethyl lactate, and Wilke Whey® whey powder and slowly soluble substrates including LactOil® soy micro-emulsion, and ChitoRem® chitin complex.

JRW Bioremediation LLC Application Center at an irrigation site BG

1. Fundamentals

Carbon substrates for enhanced reductive dechlorination can be divided into two main categories related to their longevity in the subsurface: slowly soluble and readily soluble substrates. These categories can be better defined by the dissolution rate of the substrate with readily soluble substrates being materials that are miscible or semi-miscible in groundwater and slowly soluble substrates being generally recognized as dissolving over a period of multiple months. The dissolution rate is an important characteristic as it gives a clue to how much substrate is required per period.

Since the addition of a substrate is intended to establish and maintain conditions supportive of robust anaerobic metabolism for a period sufficient to completely degrade the contaminants, it is important to understand how much substrate will be available for metabolism over any given period. In general, because they dissolve more slowly, less soluble substrates require higher dosing to maintain the same amount of available dissolved carbon within a system per unit time. If the goals of the project require maintaining anaerobic conditions for an extended period, the design should allow for multiple injections and/or the use of a slowly soluble substrate. If the project goals require maintaining anaerobic conditions for only a short period of time (on the order of months rather than a year to two), the design can include a highly soluble substrate.

2. Highly Soluble Substrates

The physical properties of a substrate will also impact subsurface distribution. Post-injection distribution is impacted by advective flow and to some extent chemical diffusion. Highly substrates like WILCLEAR®, WILCLEAR Plus®, and SoluLac™ can mimic water in their movement in the subsurface and are ideal for re-circulation systems with limited injection points. They can also quickly diffuse in tight formations or formations with minimal groundwater flow.


WILCLEAR® sodium lactate and potassium lactate are both highly soluble substrates. Sodium lactate was one of the first substrates to be used in the field to enhance reductive dechlorination. Both are easy to use and store and are excellent substrates for recirculation systems.

Wilclear Plus® Our Products

3. Slowly Soluble Substrates

Slowly soluble substrates like LactOil® soy microemulsion and ChitoRem® chitin complex can maintain anaerobic conditions in most aquifers for over two years.

3.1 LactOil®

LactOil® is unique in that the micro-emulsion allows the diluted material to have physical properties similar to highly soluble substrates while still retaining the slow dissolution properties of a vegetable oil. This combination provides the best characteristics of both highly soluble substrates (superior dispersion characteristics) and vegetable oils (longevity).

LactOil® Electron Donors BG

3.2. ChitoRem® Chitin Complex

ChitoRem® chitin complex is a solid matrix that contains protein, chitin, and calcium carbonate. The protein provides an immediately available carbon source, the chitin provides a slow release carbon source and trace nitrogen for improved microbial growth, and the calcium carbonate provides a buffering agent. This material is ideal as an excavation or as a high-pressure fracturing substrate. ChitoRem® is also being developed as a bioreactor substrate for acid mine drainage (mine influenced water).

JRW provides information regarding our products as a service to our clients. JRW is not a consultant and does not provide professional services. Every site is unique and care must be exercised by the practitioner to fully understand their own circumstances